There were a couple of bottles I had yet to try, and I can’t pass up something new. My inner whisky-geek just comes bursting out sometimes, and immediately seizes control of my decision making. (and wallet!)
One was the Bruichladdich Octomore Comus 4.2. Heavily Peated and then finished in Sauternes casks. Oh boy…I love this kind of duality! How could I ignore such an experiment? Besides, I already know I enjoy the Nectar D’Or from Glenmorangie which is finished in similar casks. (I believe the Glenmorangie Pride would be a more direct resemblance,(aside from age) but I have not yet had that one) Already a fan of what Sherry can do with Peat, I was very interested in seeing what kind of impact another sweet wine would have on such a peaty dram.
The second was an independent bottle. It was a Ben Nevis Distillery expression that was aged in Bourbon and Port casks. Ironically, it was bottled at Bruichladdich! I usually love whiskeys that are aged in casks that previously held fortified wines. More magic at a respectable proof.
How did these beauties stack up?
Octomore Comus 4.2 61% ABV About 5 years Old
Appearance: Very Light Gold
Nose: Peat & lots of it, slight brine/ocean notes, still a delicate fruity undertone though
Palate: More smokeyness, but quickly the sweetness starts to make an appearance, layers of sugary syrup and fruity citrus come out
Finish: Wow, my tongue is just bursting with a clean crisp feeling, shockingly so…very nice. Extremely clean.
Overall: First, it is hard not to like the marketing story here. That being said, I loved it! I have never had such a peaty dram that finished so clean. It was a crisp & sweet finish that I did not see coming. A couple drops of water made this even more explosive like biting into a peated fresh yellow Starburst. At 165 ppm they definitely brought the peat (which I enjoy) but boy those Premier Cru Superieur Sauternes casks (Château d'Yquem )really tried to reign it in by the end. While they didn’t completely tame the peaty beast, they did succeed in balancing it out a bit. 88/100
Ben Nevis 1999 (Bottled in 2005) 6 year old finished in Vintage Port Casks 46% ABV
Nose: Lovely, Soft, Port, Rich & Complex, Butter & Dark Fruits (w/water it was clear the dark fruit was Black Cherries)
Palate: Velvet, thick more port notes, raisins, like Bing Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream
Finish: Smooth, calm, delicate but rich, slight chocolate
Overall: This one was a tiny bit young, but the Port helped tame that fact a bit. It opens up more as time passes, so take your time with it. More plums and figs showed their faces after a while. Even a somewhat surprising leather note mixed in there. Pretty solid for its youth. 86/100